€11.9 billion to improve European connections
The European Commission has on 11 September 2014 invited Member States to propose projects to use €11.9 billion of EU funding to improve European transport connections. This is the largest ever single amount of EU funding earmarked for transport infrastructure. Member States have until 26th February 2015 to submit their bids.
The funding will be concentrated along 9 major transport corridors which, taken together, will form a core transport network and act as the economic life-blood of the Single Market. The funding will remove bottlenecks, revolutionise East West connections and streamline cross border transport operations for businesses and citizens throughout the EU.
Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, commented: "Transport is fundamental to an efficient European economy, so investing in transport connections to fuel the economic recovery is more important than ever. Areas of Europe without good transport connections are not going to grow or prosper. Member States need to seize this opportunity to bid for funding to be better connected, more competitive and provide smoother and quicker journeys for citizens and businesses."
EU financing for transport has tripled to €26 billion for the period 2014-2020 (compared to €8 billion for 2007-2013), under the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). This is the first tranche of the new funding for transport to be made available.
Taken together these innovations - the tripling of transport financing combined with the decision to tightly focus the funding along 9 major EU transport corridors - amounts to the most radical overhaul of EU transport infrastructure policy since its inception in the 1980s.
The new core network, to be established by 2030, will connect:
- 94 main European ports with rail and road links
- 38 key airports with rail connections into major cities
- 15,000 km of railway line upgraded to high speed
- 35 cross border projects to reduce bottlenecks
The funding will be attributed to the most competitive projects and focused on nine major transport corridors in Europe.
The projects will receive EU funds but must be co-financed by Member States. The results of the bidding, the allocation to projects will be announced in summer 2015.